South Korean households and hotels use the same dual round sockets for their electrical outlets as are found in most of Continental Europe. Anyone bringing an electronic device is advised to bring some adapter should their charger's plug be something other than the dual round type. However, some hotels may provide an adapter for you to use which you can query from reception. However, they may ask you for a deposit should you want to borrow.
South Korean electrical outlets accept appliances with a voltage rating of 220V at 60Hz. If your appliance has this rating that includes 220V Such as 100-240V that most laptop chargers now accept, you will be able to use the appliance with only a plug adapter. If it falls below or above this rating, you will need to purchase a transformer or a voltage adapter before leaving your country.
Some very old buildings and very new hotels and apartments are dual wired and also have 110V outlets identifiable by the smaller dual flat sockets in addition to the regular South Korean variety, built specifically to accomodate the Japanese and Americans.
Baseball was brought to Korea by American missionaries in 1905 and is the most popular sport in the country. Football soccer gained popularity when the South Korean national team reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2002. Nevertheless, baseball is the most popular sport with a strong following, with many Korean players becoming famous MLB players in the United States, and the Korean national baseball team is regarded as one of the strongest in the world.
Other popular sports include golf and basketball. Badminton, table tennis and bowling are also popular and facilities for the public are widely available in cities. Korean martial arts such as taekwondo are also popular. Golf particularly has a strong following, with membership fees for Korea's top golf clubs being more expensive than those in neighbouring Japan or even the United States. Also, many of the world's top female golfers originate from Korea or are of Korean descent.
As for winter sports, speed skating especially short track and figure skating are extremely popular due to the repeated success of Korea in the Winter Olympics.
Korea's traditional holidays follow the lunar calendar, so they fall on different days each year. The two biggest, Seollal and Chuseok, are family holidays and entail everybody returning to their hometowns en masse, meaning that all forms of transport are absolutely packed.
Shinjeongì ì , means New Years day: on the 1st day, January
Seollalì¤ë , on the 1st day of the 1st month in the lunar calendar, is also known as "Korean New Year". Families gather together, eat traditional foods-especially Ddugguk ë¡êµ and perform an ancestral service. The public holiday lasts for 3 days, which includes the eve and second day. Many shops and restaurants close for the 3 days, so this might not be an ideal time to visit.
Sameeljjeolì¼ì¼ì , 3.1ì : 1st March, in commemoration of the March 1st resistance movement against the invading Japanese Imperial Army in 1919.
Orininalì´ë¦°ì´ë : means children's day, 5th May
Buchonnim osinnalor sawolchopa-il: means Buddha's birthday, 8th day of the 4th month in the lunar calendar
Hyeonchung-ilíì¶©ì¼: means memorial day, 6th June. In commemoration of people who gave their lives to the nation.
Gwangbokjjeolê´ë³µì : means independence day, 15th August. In commemoration of the liberation of Korean peninsula from the Japanese rule with the end of the second world war.
Chuseokì¶ì, often dubbed "Korean Thanksgiving", is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the year usually September-October. Koreans celebrate by eating traditional foods, notably a rice cake called songpyeon ì¡í¸ and playing folk games. The public holiday lasts for 3 days.
Gaecheonjeolê°ì²ì : 3rd October. In commemoration of the first formation of the nation of ancient Korea.
Christmasí¬ë¦¬ì¤ë§ì¤/ì±íì has become a major holiday in Korea due to the large number of Christian converts in recent times. As such, it is an ideal time to visit and soak up the festive mood, and maybe listen to a couple of Korean renditions of popular Christmas songs.
Korea has clear four seasons. Of course it is a blessed thing for us. We can see various scenes all around.
Springis a great time of year to be in Korea. The temperatures are warm, but not hot and there's not too much rain either. However, spring is also the time when yellow dust blows over from China. Some days can be horrible to breathe because of this. In this season, we can see go cherry-blossoms with our family or friends. I assure that you will must have a great memory in here, in this season.
Summerstarts with a dreary rainy season ì¥ë§ì² ,jangma-cheol in June and turns into a steambath in July-August, with extreme humidity and the temperature heading as high as 35°C. Best avoided unless heading to the beaches. Summer is a suitable season for go swimming to the beach in Korea. Moreover, trees in summer are in leaf.
Autumnstarting in September, is perhaps the best time to be in Korea. Temperatures and humidity become more tolerable, fair days are common and the justly renowned fall colors make their appearance. There's a romantic part and also it has a feeling of loneliness. We can relaxed between Summer and Winter.
Winteris a good time to go skiing or hot-spring hopping, and the Korean invention of ondol floor heating helps defrost any parts that froze outside. However, January and February can be bone-biting cold due to Siberian winds from the north. There's a enough snow in Korea. Thus we can enjoy the snow fully fun. How about walking on the romantic road covered with snow walking with your lover on Christmas? It'll be very nice for you.
South Korea is a very homogeneous country, with nearly all native residents identifying themselves as ethnically Korean and speaking the Korean language. The largest resident minority are the Chinese, numbering around 20,000-30,000. However, there is a number of foreign laborers from China, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia and other parts of world as well as English teachers from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. In addition, about 30,000 American military personnel are stationed throughout the country, especially near the DMZ. South Korea's large and growing economy has attracted people from all over the world and Seoul's status as a leading financial center has brought many financial workers from North America, Europe and Japan. Today, over one million foreigners reside in South Korea.
It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, but also has one of the world's lowest birthrates 1.21 children per woman. Dealing with this very low birthrate will be one of the major problems for this country in the 21st century. Confucian attitudes about the importance of a male heir have led to a strongly skewed sex ratio, with about 112 men for every 100 women encouraging many Korean men in rural areas to seek wives from other countries such as China, Vietnam and the Philippines. About 85% of South Koreans live in urban areas.
Though East Asian tourists have been visiting Korea in droves since the turn of the millenium due to the Korean Wave also known as íë¥ hallyu, it is still largely off the radar of most Western tourists. As such, having locals stare or listen to your conversations is still somewhat a common experience among Westerners visiting Korea. Children in particular will approach you or shout a "Hi!" in passing. Much of this is done out of curiosity and eagerness to hear English spoken by native speakers. Although most Koreans have been educated in English since elementary school and most companies set a premium on possessing a certain level of fluency, in general the people will find it difficult to understand or speak it. However, some city dwellers can speak at a basic level. Tourists will normally find Koreans to be quite friendly and helpful when trying to find their way around.
Having been in the cultural sphere of China for much of its history, substantial Chinese influences are evident in traditional Korean culture. Nevertheless, many fundamental differences remain and Korea has managed to retain a distinct cultural identity from its larger neighbor. Koreans are fiercely proud of their heritage and their resistance to outside domination.
During the Joseon dynasty, Korea's dominant philosophy was a strict form of Confucianism, perhaps even more strict than the Chinese original. People were separated into a rigid hierarchy, with the king at the apex, an elite of officials and warriors and a small group of nobility below him, a middle class of merchants below them, and then a vast population of peasants. The educated were superior to the uneducated, women served men, and everybody stuck to a defined role or faced severe consequences. While Korea adopted its own version of the imperial examination system used in China to select officials, unlike its Chinese counterpart which was open to the general public, the Korean imperial examination was only open to those from the aristocratic or yangban class. Buddhism and its supposedly dangerous notions of equality and individual spiritual pursuit were suppressed. While the Joseon dynasty ceased to exist in 1910, its legacy lives on in Korean culture: education and hard work are valued above all else, and women still struggle for equal treatment.
Koreans believe that the things that set them the most apart from other Asian cultures are their cuisine, their language and their hangul script. Outsiders will note their extreme modernity, tempered by a well-developed artistic and architectural joyfulness. Nothing goes undecorated if it can be helped, and they have a knack for stylish interior design. South Korea also has a vibrant film and TV industry, and the country is one of only a few countries in the world in which local films have a greater market share than Hollywood films.
Korea has a significant number of Christians 29% and Buddhists 38%, with churches dotting the towns and temples and monasteries on hills. However, slightly less than a third of the country professes to follow no particular organized religion but most, if not all, are strongly influenced by traditional Korean Buddhist and Confucian philosophies that have been seeped into the Korean cultural background.
A long and complicated relationship, contact between the West and Korea have lead to a plethora of books on the Korean experience. Here's a list of books that would be available in the two major book centres in Korea as of June 2008.
Battle for Korea: The Associated Press History of the Korean Conflictby Robert J. Dvorchak 1993 - great journalistic photography accompanied by short descriptive narratives
Korea Old and New: A Historyby Carter Eckert and Lee Ki-Baik 1991 - simply stated writing, good overview of Korea's history
Korea Witness: 135 years of war, crisis and new in the land of the morning calmby Donald Kirk and Choe Sang Hun 2006 - compilation of articles from foreign correspondents starting from 1871, notably from Jack London, a war correspondent from 1903-4
True Stories of the Korean Comfort Womenby Keith Howard 1996 - unflinching look at the atrocities committed during the Japanese occupation period